Community Law Center

Lawyers for Neighborhoods & Nonprofits

Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on March 12, 2015.

March 16, 2015

11:00 a.m. cases

I. New Applications, Transfers and amendments:

Applicants Tesfaye Birru & Fikremariam Worku
Business Name Jano Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge
Trading As Jano Ethopia
Address 34 S. Eutaw Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the two applicants. Mr. Melvin Kodenski also appeared on behalf of the seller/current licensee. Mr. Tom Yeager, from Downtown Partnership, was present at the hearing in support of the transfer. Mr. Gary Maslan represented Lombard Liquors, a nearby liquor store whose owners had concerns about the transfer.

Mr. Hurdle explained that his clients were seeking a transfer of ownership only. According to Hurdle, the Board removed the restriction on the license that reads “no sale of package goods” one year ago, at the request of the licensee. The licensees have no plans to have a special package goods area, but they want to be able to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. They have agreed to restrictions on their sales, including agreeing not to sell miniature bottles of alcohol or wine in bottles smaller than a standard bottle of wine. The restaurant is currently open and operating.

Mr. Maslan informed the commissioners that he represents Lombard Liquors, a neighboring package goods store. His client expressed concerns about a Class B restaurant licensee selling package goods. Lombard Liquors doesn’t have a problem with them operating as a restaurant but does not want the restaurant to create a separate package goods section. Hurdle replied that his clients, the applicants, are unwilling to agree to a restriction that would prohibit a package goods section.

Hurdle submitted an agreement that he said that his clients would sign with the community association. Commissioner Moore pointed out that the agreement was two years old and had different names on it. Hurdle replied that his clients will sign an identical agreement, with the names updated. Moore also pointed out that page five of the agreement was missing.

Zoning B-4-1
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, but it is misspelled in SDAT’s system as “Jano Ethiorian Restaurant and Lounge LLC”
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle, for the applicants, and Mr. Melvin Kodenski, for the current licensee
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Jones Montgomery, Sanamdeep Singh & Uprendra Shrestha
Business Name Desi Aug, LLC
Trading As Corky’s Liquor
Address 5404-06 York Road
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes The hearing has been postponed, at the applicants’ and community’s request, to March 26, 2015.
Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Homeland
Area demographics 12% Black, 75% White; 7% Asian; 3% Hispanic; 2% Two or more races; 23% households have children under age 18; median household income: $80,903.82
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Parkville, MD
Attorney for licensee N/A
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors/police officers N/A
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Jin Zhou Shi & Chang Xu Sun
Business Name Michael’s Super Market, Inc.
Trading As Slater’s Market
Address 5123 Park Heights Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer & Wine License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the two applicants for the transfer of ownership. Hurdle explained that the Park Heights area is set out in Article 2B with restricted hours of operation. The current licensee was not present at the hearing, because he was out of the country, caring for a sick relative. The store is a small grocery store with a liquor store section and will continue to operate this way. Between the two applicants, they will be operating the store themselves, at all times.

Commissioner Jones expressed some concern and confusion that the Park Heights community leaders were not present at the hearing. Jones said that, normally, every time there is a transfer within this community, community leaders and members are present. Mr. Hurdle responded that the hearing to transfer ownership should only look at the character of the licensee. Jones said that, in his opinion, whether or not an applicant tries to contact community groups reflects on his character.

Commissioner Moore echoed Jones’ concerns and said that it is critical for applicants to reach out to community groups. If this lack of community feedback is unusual, Moore thought that the application should be tabled until the applicant reaches out to community groups. Hurdle expressed concern that the hearing would be rescheduled in two weeks and that the community would turn up against his clients. Moore responded that the commissioners then would figure out why the community was opposed and whether it had to do with the applicants’ character. Hurdle argued that his clients’ character was proven by the fact that they submitted a complete application and do not have a criminal record. Moore disagreed that those facts showed his clients’ good character. Hurdle added that they have a letter of support from the community in the file; Moore disagreed and said that the letter of support was from one resident of the community.

Hurdle disagreed, again, with the postponement, because when the hearing is rescheduled, “we’ll have dozens of community members who have been extra-notified.” After speaking with his clients, he agreed to reach out to community groups if the hearing could be rescheduled soon.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Central Park Heights
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 38% households have children under age 18; 33% households living below the poverty line; median household income: $27,238.61.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Ian Parrish & Charles Parrish
Business Name Baltimore Eagle, LLC
Trading As Baltimore Eagle
Address 2022 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the applicants. He corrected the entry in the docket, saying that the Board has already approved the transfer, but the applicants just haven’t completed it.

Mr. Ian Parrish testified about the construction issues that have held up the project. He originally received permission to transfer ownership of the license in 2012. The building that the Parrishes bought was in very bad shape and required a lot of construction work to bring it up to code. Parrish said that when the sale closed, he found issues that could not have been discovered during the sale process. There was a lien on the property that the title search did not pick up. The property was full of garbage and had been used for drugs and prostitution. The roof was collapsing and the mortar between the bricks was turning to sand. The Parrishes had to gut the building. So far, he has expended $150,000 and the project will probably end up costing around $1 million.

Chairman Ward asked Kodenski what Article 2B provides for a building owner in Mr. Parrish’s situation. Kodenski replied that, in section 10-503, the owner of a license can have extra time, if there is a delay due to fire, arson, other casualties, BG&E problems, water department problems, or problems with the condition of the building. After looking at the Code with Commissioner Moore, Chairman Ward said that none of what Kodenski mentioned was in the law. Kodenski then quoted a case called Woodfield v. West River Improvement Association, which he said held that the Board does not have to enforce the 180-day provision, if it chooses not to. The commissioners took a few moments to look through the case but could not read it carefully during the hearing.

Commissioner Moore, in the time she was given to read the case, strongly disagreed that the Woodfield case supported Mr. Kodenski’s argument. She said that, even if the prior Board’s policy was to give extra time, “all of that went out the window after the Audit. Those policies and procedures were wrong.” The new commissioners were brought onto the Board specifically to make sure that the old practices do not continue; prior members of the Board were harshly criticized by the Audit for disregarding Maryland state law.

Ward agreed with Commissioner Moore. He told Mr. Kodenski that he could write a legal memorandum outlining his argument, but that unless Kodenski can convince the Board that there is some protection in the law, the license is dead. When Mr. Parrish began to interject, Ward interrupted and told him that the issue is the law. Parrish “bought something that [he] shouldn’t have bought.”

Several community members testified against the extension of the transfer. Mr. Alan Mlinarchik, board member of the Charles North Community Association, testified that the Parrishes have not given the community enough information to support the project. Mr. Mlinarchik told the commissioners that the applicants have not agreed to an updated Memorandum of Understanding with the Charles North Community Association. He submitted emails between himself and one of the Parrishes’ representatives about the proposed MOU. Ms. Jean Knight, who is a community member from the Old Goucher neighborhood, and Sandy Sparks, president of the Charles Village Civic Association, expressed the same concerns that they do not know the applicants’ plans for the space.

In support of the project, Mr. Kelly Cross, president of the Old Goucher Community Association, began by saying that he was very surprised and disappointed to see Ms. Sparks and Ms. Knight in opposition to the Parrishes. He said that his organization resents Charles Village’s encroachment into Old Goucher and Charles Village doesn’t represent his neighborhood. Commisssioner Moore, former President of CVCA, interrupted Cross to tell him that he was mistaken about the historic boundaries of Charles Village Civic Association. Mr. Cross continued with his testimony that his organization strongly supports Mr. Parrish’s plans, because the area needs more nighttime establishments.

Mr. Christopher Willoughby testified as a “special adviser” to Mr. Parrish, with experience in restaurant management and construction. He testified that the plan for the business has not changed since 2012. Commissioner Moore looked through Mr. Willoughby’s email exchanges with Mr. Mlinarchik and noted that they were “pretty nasty.”

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Charles North
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Glen Arm, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 4
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 3
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The Woodfield case does not support Mr. Kodenski’s argument that the Board has the discretion to ignore the “shall” in Article 2B section 10-503(d)(4). The section of the Code says, in its entirety, “A transfer of any license shall be completed not more than 180 days after the Board approves the transfer.” Though the statute, admittedly, does not specifically state a consequence for failure to complete a transfer within 180 days, logic suggests that a transfer authorization would lapse after 180 days, under this section. If the license has been unused during that time, the license would also expire under Article 2B section 10-504(d).

Applicants Hong-Qing Shi & Yu-Feng Jiang
Business Name V & A Mini Market, Inc.
Trading As Mack’s Deli
Address 1301 Bayard Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer & Wine License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represented the applicants. He submitted a letter of support for the transfer of ownership from Citizens of Pigtown. The applicants are buying the business as well as the building. The applicants did meet with Citizens of Pigtown and have agreed to remodel the building. They will move into the building when the renovations are completed. The current licensee was not present, though both licensees were. Mr. Maslan explained that the current licensees are an elderly Korean couple who do not speak any English. Chairman Ward pointed out that, as of January 15, 2015, both sides of the transaction are required to be present for a hearing. The matter was rescheduled for March 26, due to the absence of the current licensees.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
Area demographics BNIA did not have demographic information available for this neighborhood.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 p.m. cases

II. Violations

Licensee Elaine Fordham
Business Name Isis, LLC
Trading As Isis Lounge
Address 226-28 Park Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.01: Ownership and Operation – December 5, 2014 – The Comptroller’s Office received a complaint by a former employee of Isis, LLC T/A Isis Lounge. As part of the investigation, Agent Tanis interviewed Korey Moody, who claimed to be the operator of the establishment. The interview occurred at approximately 10:30am to 11:30 am at the Offices of the Comptroller. Mr. Moody produced a signed agreement stating that he was allowed to manage the business in exchange for $2,000 per month in pay. As of yet, Mr. Moody’s financial interest has not been formally disclosed to the Board in writing nor has an application been made to reflect Mr. Moody’s financial interest in the License.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – December 19, 2014 – At approximately 8:00 PM the Baltimore Police Department, The Comptroller’s Office, and Inspectors from the BLLC, responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation into the business practices of the Isis Lounge. Isis Lounge advertises itself as a bar and hookah lounge. On this date, Agent Wayne Tanis from the Comptroller’s office conducted an investigation and found 6 containers of hookah tobacco. Upon finding these containers the Agent asked operator if there were any receipts or records indicating that the Maryland tobacco tax was paid. The operator could not produce the records.

Violation of Rule 3.03(a): Records – December 19, 2014 – At approximately 8:00 PM the Baltimore Police Department, The Comptroller’s Office, and Inspectors from the BLLC, responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation into the business practices of the Isis Lounge. Isis Lounge advertises itself as a bar and hookah lounge. On this date Agent Wayne Tanis from the Comptroller’s office conducted an investigation and asked the operator for receipts of alcoholic beverages purchased. The only receipts that the operator could provide were from September 2014 through October 2014. At that time the Agent found 27 bottles of distilled spirits that were not on any of the invoices nor were they on any of the prior listed stock.

Violation of Rule 4.10(a): Relations with Wholesalers – December 19, 2014 – At approximately 8:00 PM the Baltimore Police Department, The Comptroller’s Office, and Inspectors from the BLLC, responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation into the business practices of the Isis Lounge. Isis Lounge advertises itself as a bar and hookah lounge. On this date Agent Wayne Tanis from the Comptroller’s office conducted an investigation and asked the operator for receipts of alcoholic beverages purchased. The only receipts that the operator could provide were from September 2014 through October 2014. At that time the Agent found 27 bottles of distilled spirits that were not on any of the invoices nor were they on any of the prior listed stock. Agent determined that operator purchased alcohol from a not licensed wholesaler.

Violation of Rule 3.03(c): Records – December 19, 2014 – At approximately 8:00 PM the Baltimore Police Department, The Comptroller’s Office, and Inspectors from the BLLC, responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation into the business practices of the Isis Lounge. Isis Lounge advertises itself as a bar and hookah lounge. On this date Agent Wayne Tanis from the Comptroller’s office requested to see the records of employees for Isis Lounge. The operator produced a stack of eight (8) black file folders with eight (8) separate names. The operator stated that the folders did not contain any additional information other than the names of the employees on the file folders. The operator then told the Agent that the licensee takes case of all withholding tax information for all employees. A record check indicated that Isis LLC T/A Isis Lounge never obtained a withholding account with the Comptroller to submit income tax withholdings.

Violation of Rule 3.07: Restroom – December 19, 2014 – At approximately 8:00 PM the Baltimore Police Department, The Comptroller’s Office, and Inspectors from the BLLC, responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation into the business practices of the Isis Lounge. Isis Lounge advertises itself as a bar and hookah lounge. On this Inspector Jones inspected the woman’s bathroom and found that the toilet seat and toilet were inoperable. There was a sign on the door that indicated it was out of order.

Hearing notes

Before the hearing began, Deputy Executive Secretary Thomas Akras asked the Chairman to dismiss violation count 6 (the restroom violation). Since the violation date, the inspectors have returned to the location, and the bathroom is now up to code and working properly.

Mr. Ed Smith, former Liquor Board commissioner, represented Ms. Fordham. Mr. Smith admitted all of the violations on behalf of his client.

Mr. Corey Moody testified that he entered into a managerial agreement with Ms. Fordham to manage Isis Lounge in September 2014. Mr. Moody did not know that he needed to keep employee records. He had a list of the employees, but no copies of driver’s licenses, social security numbers or any other information. He told the commissioners that his workers had “volunteered” to work at the bar. He had the hookah in the back of the bar, but he did not sell it to patrons. It was for the employees. He told the commissioners that he did not receive the proper invoices for the 27 bottles from the distributer. Mr. Moody has been convicted of possession of marijuana, with intent to distribute, which is a felony; therefore, he would be disqualified from being a licensee. The manager said, under questioning, that he hadn’t yet fixed the employment records issue, but he will. Chairman Ward asked Mr. Smith why Mr. Moody hadn’t corrected the problem yet; Mr. Smith replied that he had just had a “come to Jesus” meeting with Moody about his failure to follow the law.

Ms. Elaine Fordham, the licensee, testified next. She said that she had asked the Liquor Board about this management agreement, and Ms. Jane Schroeder said that she could use one. No one gave her a form or told her how to write it, so she created it herself. She has been the licensee at Isis Lounge for 10 years, but she is taking care of her elderly grandmother and also working full-time at the post office.

Agent Wayne Tanis, from the Comptroller’s office, testified that his office was concerned about the management agreement, because of Mr. Moody’s criminal conviction. Mr. Smith told the Board that he believed it would be a violation of the Constitution to tell Mr. Moody that he’s out completely.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Ed Smith
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for all charges. $2,500 fine. The Board also ordered Ms. Fordham to terminate the manager’s contract and dismiss him within 30 days.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward noted that he was disturbed that Mr. Moody has not improved the business’s practices between being cited and the hearing. Commissioner Moore agreed and said that all of the problems that came up in this case are “the kinds of things that people do when they’re trying to hide something.” She said that the case presented a “frightening cocktail of problems.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

This case raises serious employment law concerns. Though the Liquor Board does not exist to enforce employment law, it can hold licensees responsible for breaking other laws. Here, Mr. Moody admitted that there were workers at his bar that were “volunteering.” This practice is illegal, under both federal and Maryland state wage and hour laws. Only charitable, educational, non profit, or religous organizations may have unpaid volunteers.

Licensees Michael Buenger & Carolyn Lissau
Business Name Diamond Jim, Inc.
Trading As Diamond Lounge
Address 415 E. Baltimore Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License/ Adult Entertainment
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.12: Public Welfare – December 21, 2014 – At approximately 10:15 pm police responded to 415 E Baltimore Street to an establishment known as the “Diamond Lounge” for a cutting. Police met with the victim who stated he was attacked by a man who he knew to be employed as security personnel at the establishment. According to the victim the employee engaged in a verbal altercation with the victim, then went behind the bar, grabbed a knife, and then stabbed the victim in the arm. Police were able to identify the suspect and confirm that the suspect was employed as a bouncer at the establishment.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – December 21, 2014 – At approximately 10:15 pm police responded to 415 E Baltimore Street to an establishment known as the “Diamond Lounge” for a cutting. Police met with the victim who stated he was attacked by a man who he knew to be employed as security personnel at the establishment. According to the victim the employee engaged in a verbal altercation with the victim, then went behind the bar, grabbed a knife, and then stabbed the victim in the arm. Police were able to identify the suspect and confirm that the suspect was employed as a bouncer at the establishment.

Violation of Adult Entertainment Rule 9: Code Compliance – December 21, 2014 – At approximately 10:15 pm police responded to 415 E Baltimore Street to an establishment known as the “Diamond Lounge” for a cutting. Police met with the victim who stated he was attacked by a man who he knew to be employed as security personnel at the establishment. According to the victim the employee engaged in a verbal altercation with the victim, then went behind the bar, grabbed a knife, and then stabbed the victim in the arm. Police were able to identify the suspect and confirm that the suspect was employed as a bouncer at the establishment.

Violation of Adult Entertainment Rule 14: Other Standards – December 21, 2014 – At approximately 10:15 pm police responded to 415 E Baltimore Street to an establishment known as the “Diamond Lounge” for a cutting. Police met with the victim who stated he was attacked by a man who he knew to be employed as security personnel at the establishment. According to the victim the employee engaged in a verbal altercation with the victim, then went behind the bar, grabbed a knife, and then stabbed the victim in the arm. Police were able to identify the suspect and confirm that the suspect was employed as a bouncer at the establishment.

Hearing notes

Baltimore Police Officer Joshua Hall testified that on the night in question, at 10:00pm, he received a call for a cutting in the 400 block of Baltimore Street. When he arrived, he saw Mr. Marcus Brown, who told Hall that he had been cut on his right forearm while partying in the Diamond Lounge. Brown told him that he was cut by Jason Kennen, a bouncer at Diamond Lounge. Mr. Brown had also been a bouncer or doorman at one point at the Diamond Lounge but no longer worked there. Brown and Kennen had some issues with each other, exchanged words and a fight ensued. Mr. Brown refused to go to the hospital, and his cut was not serious.

Under questioning by Mr. Kodenski, Officer Hall testified that Mr. Brown is well-known around The Block as being a fighter. Brown often will put on gloves when he fights, and he tells people that when he puts his gloves on, he means business. Mr. Kennen is a smaller man, around 5’9″, and Mr. Brown is tall, 6’3″.

Police Sergeant Randy Dahl testified that he investigated the assault. He observed a small cut on Brown’s right forearm. He spoke with Brown, then went inside the Diamond Lounge and retrieved the security videotape footage from the manager. Mr. Akras played the video footage for the Board.

Officer Dahl testified that Kennen had grabbed the knife from behind the bar; the knife is a smaller knife used to cut up lemons for drinks. Kennen has not been arrested, though a warrant was obtained for assault with a deadly weapon. Dahl said that it is possible that Brown is a gang member of some kind, though he couldn’t find Brown’s name in the police database.

Mr. Michael Gates, one of the managers of the Diamond Lounge, told the commissioners that Mr. Brown is barred from the club because of his violent behavior. Brown has made threatening accusations to multiple employees. When Mr. Gates saw Brown arrive at the club, he went in after him, but, by the time Gates got down the stairs, the chaos had already begun. He explained that Kennen is a “runner,” which means that he does chores and errands for the employees of the Diamond Lounge: getting ice, buying food, etc. Kennen has not been back since the incident. He gets paid tips for these errands, but he doesn’t have access to the bar area. Gates said that the club is too small (1,000 square feet) to really need security; if something happens, they just call 911. When the Diamond Lounge told Brown that he was barred from entering, he told them that there’s nobody big enough or bad enough to keep him out.

Zoning B-5-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support ~4
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for all charges; $500 fine.
Vote tally 2-1, Ward dissenting
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said that he couldn’t find the bar responsible, because Mr. Brown is a troublemaker and the bar did what they could to prevent this issue. “I absolve the bar of all these charges,” he said.

Commissioner Jones said that he would agree with the Chairman, were it not that Mr. Kennen was an employee of the club. Commissioner Moore agreed with Jones and said that the bar is responsible for all of the violations. It was the bar’s employee who came from behind the bar with a knife. Neither of the men was angelic, but they both put the bar’s patrons in danger.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Chairman Ward’s dissenting opinion is completely inconsistent with all of his previous rulings that licensees are responsible for what happens in their establishment and for the acts of their employees. In the March 5 hearing for Yolo Bar and Lounge, for example, an assailant walked in, shot a patron in the head, and walked out, and the Board held the licensee responsible. In this case, Diamond Lounge had notice that Brown was a dangerous man and still let him in the door and allowed him to stay long enough to exchange words and get into a fight with an employee.

Second, the employment status of Mr. Kennen also raises a possible red flag under federal and Maryland state wage and hour laws. It sounds as though Mr. Kennen could be classified as an independent contractor, if he is in complete control of his schedule, but this was not clear from the testimony given. Mr. Kennen was referred to as an employee more than once in the hearing; if he is an employee, he is entitled to an hourly wage under the law, but the manager seemed to suggest that he was just given a few dollars in “tips” per errand run.

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